Ready for golf season
After big 3, North Point looking to fill gaps
North Point always seems to field a deep, talented team, but this year the Eagles will be thinner. At least in North Point terms.
Though the Eagles lost senior Kent Kamenicky to graduation, North Point returns All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference first-teamers Trent Tyer, Matt Zabiegalski and Immanuel Ricasa. After them is where the Eagles are thin.
“Typically we have pretty good years because we usually go pretty deep with our players and their skills run pretty deep usually, [but] this year we will be a bit thinner,” said North Point head coach Chuck Skinner, who is entering his sixth season. “We realize we’ll start to feel it around No. 4 or 5 whereas in the past we could go six or seven deep, so we do see a weakness in the bottom of our order. We do have some young athletes who did get some experience last year and we hope that
will bear out some good results for us as a team. Right now we’re relying on the strength of our top three to carry the rest through the SMAC regular season and get us into tournament play.”
Last season North Point shot 35 strokes better than any other county team at the District IV tournament, qualifying for a state tournament bid. The team won the county championship by 20 strokes and the SMAC tournament by 25. North Point, which finished in a three-way tie with Huntingtown and Northern for the regular season title, finished 41-2 overall.
“Winning’s important at North Point I think because it proves all the hard work you’ve done, but we also spend a lot of time on character building and we insist on quality grades,” said Skinner, whose team posted a 4.05 GPA last year. “I think with good grades and good character it comes out to the golf course and we see the results there as well; hard work, dedication and commitment and when those things come together you have a pretty good golf game with the practice.”
And it helps to have a Big 3 in Zabiegalski, Tyer and Ricasa.
Zabiegalski, a rising senior, had a 39.8 ninehole average last year and placed second at the Charles County tournament with a 77. He was sixth at the District IV tournament (76), tied for seventh at SMAC (86) and shot an 85 at the state tournament.
“As the leaders of the team we have to teach the not-as-experienced golfers so we can move forward as a team,” Zabiegalski said. “We don’t feel as much [pressure] because we feel like we can have another couple of scores come in behind us and hopefully do well throughout the year.”
Tyer, whose nine-hole average was 40.4 in 2015, tied for third at SMAC with a 83, was fourth at the county tournament (79) and also shot 85 at states.
“I’m going to say excited,” Tyer said of his thoughts on the upcoming season, which begins at 4 p.m. today at Breton Bay Golf & Country Club in Leonardtown against Northern, Lackey and host Leonardtown. “I think we have a solid group of golfers and I think if we all play our own games and stay consistent, we’ll have a solid season.”
Ricasa, who averaged 44 last year, shot an 83 at SMAC, 84 at states, 86 at districts and 87 at the county tournament.
“It’s important for all of us to be consistent because if any one of us isn’t in gear, all of us won’t perform or play well,” he said during a break during a recent practice at Potomac Ridge Golf Course in Waldorf. “It’s important all of us are at the best of our ability and doing our best for our team.”
Skinner said he has three or four golfers vying for the open slots, but added that rising junior Garrett Hayes is the “frontrunner” for the No. 4 spot.
“Obviously with the hole at No. 4 I need to count on those three to be pretty consistent and our plan is based on numbers,” Skinner said. “In the past, we’ve had eight golfers who were able to shoot under 40, now we have three. We don’t have much room for slipping. One bad hole can really hurt us more so now.”
On Hayes, he said, “He’s got a lot more distance on his drives and we actually through the process of trying him out found a major problem with his game and fixed it,” Skinner said. “We’re also seeing more mature decisions from him. Last year we didn’t get to see him a lot, but this year hopefully we’ll see more of him.”
Tyer for one would like to see the Eagles do even better this season but said he isn’t nervous.
“I don’t think there’s a ton of pressure; I just think we know what to do,” he said. “We have to get the job done. Simple as that.”
And then Tyer stepped up to the tee and crushed a shot down the fairway.
North Point is counting on Immanuel Ricasa, left, Matt Zabiegalski and Trent Tyer to lead the way in 2016.